I had never heard the expression “half wheeler” until I met my husband who is a former cyclist. If my memory serves me correctly, he labeled me within a mile of our first run together. My husband and I have very different intentions when we go out for a run and have yet to find a common approach that we can both enjoy. He is convinced that I purposely run one to two steps ahead of him because I lack patience and take my runs too seriously. I think he purposely putters along just to piss me off. In any event, we do not lose sleep about it and we do not run together.
When I first started running I was mostly on my own before joining a team in California. These elite women were exceptional human beings and leagues above me in terms of running talent. I had grit and worked my ass off, but I was struggling. Everyday that I trained with these women felt like a race for me. I was barely hanging on and instead of admitting to my struggle I punished myself with extra junk miles. As you can imagine I fell apart fast and it took about three years for my body and mind to recover. I beat myself up every single day instead of realizing that I was probably in the wrong training group or needed to do my easy runs by myself to assure full recovery. I was young and denied the need for recovery even though I would have panic attacks before bed every night thinking about my morning workouts.
If you prefer running with other people or training groups be selective in choosing who you are with, particularly during specific training blocks. It is so easy to get caught up in what other people or doing, which can sabotage your own plan. If you need to run fast then train with people who are fast, if you need to run easy then run your own pace. Running should be something that you look forward to doing and adding unnecessary stress to training is counterproductive. Aside from the actual training that can be impacted by training partners, there is also the psychological component. If you are training with someone who is constantly trying to bury you in a run, please reconsider. If you are running with someone whose negativity is leaving a layer of grime on your shirt, please reconsider. Surround yourself with running partners who you look forward to training with and never feel compelled to run with someone if you are not feeling it. We can talk more about this when we start working together as every situation is different and also depending on what phase of training you are in.
Fortunately, my husband and I did not break-up when we realized we were not compatible training partners. And we did not begin as training partners who got romantically involved because this could lead to disaster too. Been there done that. My choice to run alone often is because I am looking to get different things out of running then when I was racing competitively. I like the silence that is do hard to find with three children at home and 800 at school. I value the opportunity to reflect while out on my runs and to be conscious of how my body feels, especially since it talks to me a lot more these days. Some days, I chose to run with individuals who contribute to the joy of running and who also add great conversation. Whatever you decide is a personal decision and know that training partners can be both an asset and a hindrance to your own goals as a runner!